Richard DalBello. Credit: Virgin Galactic

WASHINGTON — Richard DalBello, the assistant director of space and aeronautics at the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP), is leaving to take a position with Virgin Galactic, the company announced Dec. 15.

DalBello will become vice president of business development and government affairs for the commercial spaceflight company. His roles will include managing business development, particularly for the company’s LauncherOne small-satellite launch vehicle, and being responsible for the company’s interactions with the U.S. government.

“Richard has extensive experience in the commercial space and satellite industry, as well as in the development of government programs and policy,” Virgin Galactic Chief Executive George Whitesides said in a statement announcing the hiring. “We look forward to his contributions within our senior executive team.”

DalBello joined OSTP in October 2013 after spending several years at Intelsat General Corp., most recently as its vice president of government affairs. He previously worked in a similar position at OSTP from 1993 to 1997.

“People have always dreamed of the day when low cost, flexible, access to space might be possible. The world class team at Virgin Galactic is poised to make that dream a reality,” DalBello said in a statement.

The announcement is the first major personnel move announced by Virgin Galactic since the Oct. 31 SpaceShipTwo accident that killed co-pilot Michael Alsbury and injured pilot Peter Siebold. That accident remains under investigation by the National Transportation Safety Board.

DalBello will start at Virgin Galactic on Jan. 12, company spokeswoman Jessica Gilbert said Dec. 15.

Jeff Foust writes about space policy, commercial space, and related topics for SpaceNews. He earned a Ph.D. in planetary sciences from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and a bachelor’s degree with honors in geophysics and planetary science...